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What makes Birth and Beyond BA (Hons) Top-up Degree at Worcester special?

Please note this course is no longer running. You may be interested in other School of Allied Health and Community courses.

Do you feel passionate about supporting parents during the first 1,000 days of parenthood? This 'top-up' degree enables you to explore the fascinating field of 'Birth and Beyond' with the NCT. You will have the opportunity to explore the historical, political, economic, sociological and cultural factors that shape the 1st 1000 days after birth.

The course then considers the theoretical and practical skills required to change and influence this cultural shaping. You'll gain an understanding of how adults learn as an individual and in more formal group situations. Finally, you will be able to specialise in an area of particular interest to you within your Dissertation.



Key features

  • A unique partnership between University of Worcester and the NCT, a leading organisation in the field.
  • A flexible course that can be studied full or part-time, using a mix of attended structured study days and self-directed learning.
  • A chance to study an area of real significance to society and individuals today.
  • The face-to-face contact of this course will be delivered across 3 or 4 venues in the UK (please enquire for more information on locations for this year).

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Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

Entry requirements

240 HE credits with at least 120 credits at L5. *

  • These credits may be from an NCT Diploma or Foundation degree or another discipline related to the 'Birth and Beyond' period.
  • Non related subjects will be considered but you will need to demonstrate a real interest in the field and there will be required pre reading.

Your qualification must include an element of research studies if you have not completed the UW NCT FdA commencing in 2016 -17. You will need to demonstrate you have an appropriate qualification or the necessary knowledge, if not we can provide a short course of study to give you the knowledge and skills required **

*Your credits will need to be regarded as 'current' by the university this normally means it must be no more than 6 years since your completion. If your qualification is over 6 years old but is an NCT qualification and you are a current practitioner, please contact to discuss possible options.

** accepted qualifications are the NCT Level 5 Research module (UW), the NCT Level 6 UoB module. If you don't have one of these you can apply for RPL (recognition of prior learning) or attend an internal NCT research short course. Contact to find out more.

Other information

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the Admissions Office on 01905 855111 or email for advice.

Further information about the UCAS Tariff can be obtained from

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Course content

What will you study?

Our courses are informed by research and current developments in the discipline and feedback from students, external examiners and employers. Modules do therefore change periodically in the interests of keeping the course relevant and reflecting best practice. The most up-to-date information will be available to you once you have accepted a place and registered for the course. If there are insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this might not be offered, but we will advise you as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative. 


Modules to be studied within one year.

The Cultural Shaping of Birth and Beyond (30 Credits)

This module explores how and why we have arrived at the current experience of 'birth and beyond'. You will explore how pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood have developed over time in our society and come to understand more about the major influencing factors. This will take you on a journey through contemporary social, philosophical and political theories that have affected thinking in UK society, focusing on how this relates to the 'birth and beyond' experience. You will examine theories and events from a range of perspectives including: culture, politics, economics, society and technology. As a result you will be able to consider the implications for the contemporary experience of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood.

Bringing about Change for Birth and Beyond (30 Credits)

This module explores change in relation to the experience of 'birth and beyond'.' You will explore how to recognise what changes may be coming, analyse what change is desirable, and develop a plan to influence change. During the module you will explore the social, cultural, economic and political factors that stimulate and affect change, and look at theories and evidence of change in practice. You will engage in the national debate about birth and beyond, undertake your own research into a change topic, and develop essential practical skills in building and presenting a local or national case for change. As a result of this module you will be more confident in identifying, presenting, and implementing change either within NCT or when working with other professionals in local or national organisations.

The Adult Learner (30 Credits)

This module aims to deepen your understanding of adult learning by exploring the theoretical underpinning, enabling you to better support learners in both formal and informal, group and individual learning environments. During the module you will build on your existing knowledge by exploring current and historical educational theory about the ways adults learn, the barriers to learning and how to best support learning. As a result of this module students have felt their interaction with adults and learners to be enriched, and their personal motivation increased, bringing new and greater satisfaction to their work.

Dissertation (30 Credits)

This module is an opportunity to put your research, analysis, and writing skills into practice, though an in depth exploration of an area of personal interest in the field of 'birth and beyond' or 'teaching and learning'. Through delving into the literature around a topic of your own choice you may discover new ideas, and develop new concepts or theories. You will have the support of the module leader and a supervisor, chosen specifically to help you with your own field of enquiry. As a result of this module you will have achieved a significant piece of work, and huge self-development.

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You are taught through a combination of study days, journal clubs, tutorials, and assessment days.

In addition, meetings with personal academic tutors are scheduled on at least 3 occasions.

You have an opportunity to reflect on: personal development through the course, including discussion and reflection on feedback and grades achieved; academic issues including study skills and development needs; advice and guidance including signposting with respect to pastoral issues; future plans and goals with respect to study, profession or career including creating action plans where necessary.

Contact time

In the first semester you will have around 98 contact hours of teaching some face to face some online. In the second semester you will have around 60 contact hours - this is slightly less due to your Dissertation module.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • Information giving, facilitated discussions, small group work, presentations
  • Practical skills - the opportunity to practise group facilitation, presentation, communication and listening skills.

You also have 4 hours of supervision for your 'Dissertation'.

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you are expected to undertake around 25 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve: reading; completing assignments; preparing for study days and tutorials attending conferences and meetings such as Maternity Voices Partnerships; completing reflective journals; online learning including use of Blackboard, quizzes and watching videos and of course work on your Dissertation.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. The team includes: Suzy Bromwich-Alexandra, Kay Cram, Fran Hill, Kathryn Kelly, Maxine Palmer and Stephanie Ward.

Teaching is informed by the research and consultancy; 2 lecturers have a higher education teaching qualification, 1 is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and 1 is a Senior Fellow; 5 course lecturers have the NCT Degree in Educational studies. You can learn more about the staff by visiting our staff profiles.


The course provides opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments. Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade.

Assessment methods include: Essays, Book Proposal, Presentation, Interactive Session, and your Dissertation.


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback on examination performance is available upon request from the module leader. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

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Where could it take you?

Opportunities for further study

Successful completion of the BA (Hons) Birth and Beyond enables students to progress to postgraduate study with NCT College and undertake research relating to supporting parents in the transition to parenthood, or to adult learning. Alternatively, students could progress to non NCT postgraduate study, including, for example a PGCE in Early Years or Primary Education or a Master's in Public Health.

Those that already have an NCT specialism may also choose to undertake internal training within NCT for senior practitioner roles. Students that were new to the NCT may decide to train for one of the NCT practitioner roles as a first step to a career with NCT.


The course prepares students for employment by ensuring that the programme includes an in-depth exploration of the key factors of the Birth and Beyond field, as well as a range of advanced skills which will enhance employability for a variety of roles within the field of Birth and Beyond and Early Years. Students will have also acquired a wide range of transferable skills, which could be used to apply for a much wider range of careers that require degree level education.

For those that are already NCT practitioners the course is aligned with the requirements NCT has of its practitioners and senior practitioners and their development into more senior roles.

Other possible employers are Sure Start or Children's Centres, Early Years settings, other charities working in the 'Birth and Beyond' period, Public Health and the NHS.

Whilst there is currently no professional body for those supporting parents in the transition to parenthood, NCT has prepared its own competencies as the foundation of formal accreditation in this field. The BA (Hons) Birth and Beyond is completely aligned with these competencies.


How much will it cost?

Tuition fees

Full time

For home students registering in the 2021/22 academic year the full-time tuition fee will be £7,750.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part time

For home students registering in the 2021/22 academic year the part-time tuition fee will be £969 per 15-credit module and £1,938 per 30-credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Support with costs

If you have a question about tuition fees and how to pay for them, please contact our Finance Department on 01905 542890 or email

For more information, please visit our course fees page.

Students can request to pay in 3-6 instalments using either direct debit or credit card.

NCT will provide information and support for students wishing to explore ways of reducing the cost of their training. This will include information on:

  • Career Development and Student Loans
  • Grants
  • Bursaries.

Please see the NCT student funding and bursaries page for further information.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

How to apply